NVAX Stock – How it works, differs from Covishield
New Delhi: Novavax — a US-based biotechnology company — this month announced that its vaccine has an efficacy of over 90 per cent against Covid infection and 100 per cent efficacy in protection from severe disease against Covid.
The vaccine — known as NVX-CoV2373 — is among the first to have undergone phase 3 clinical trials at a time when new Covid variants of concern such as the B.1.1.7 (Alpha) and B.1.351 (Beta) were prevalent in the population.
The Modi government gave Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) the go-ahead to manufacture and stockpile the vaccine. The clinical trials are underway in India and the vaccine is likely to hit the market under the name Covovax by September this year.
SII is already producing Covishield, the vaccine developed by researchers at Oxford University and AstraZeneca in the UK.
ThePrint explains how this Novavax vaccine is different.
Also read: Why Novavax, a vaccine the world badly needs, is looking better than ever
Spike protein formula
Novavax describes its vaccine as a recombinant nanoparticle protein-based Covid-19 vaccine.
To develop the vaccine, researchers selected a part of the genetic sequence of the virus that produces the spike protein. This sequence was then introduced in baculoviruses — pathogens that attack insects.
These modified baculoviruses were then made to infect moth cells in the lab, so that the cells produce proteins that are similar in structure to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
These proteins are then purified and administered with an adjuvant — a solution that enhances the ability of a vaccine to work — called Matrix M, also produced by Novavax.
This protein in the vaccine tricks the immune system into believing that it is under attack from the SARS-CoV-2. As a result, the body launches an immune response designed to fight off the virus.
Meanwhile, the adjuvant Matrix M, increases the neutralising antibodies and induces long-lasting B cells, a type of white blood cell that enhances immunity.
In comparison, Covishield contains a weakened and non-replicating version of a common cold virus (adenovirus), which usually infects chimpanzees and is harmless in humans.
The adenovirus has been engineered to express the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
(Edited by Manasa Mohan)
Also read: Covovax vaccine samples cleared by national drug lab, phase 3 trials could begin by July
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